New 2023 Interview: Dan Carroll…
Chairman of the Irish Snooker Ladies Association Dan Carroll believes that snooker and the ladies game is on the up because of the promotion of snooker in schools.
Carroll, based in Sharkz Newbridge in County Kildare, first played snooker back in 1972, the year Alex Higgins scooped his first World title, and went on to become a snooker icon.
Carroll said that those were the best days with Irish snooker as there was a fantastic atmosphere in those days.
He said he first started playing competitive snooker in 1978.
But, since the boom years of Higgins et al, Carroll said the snooker scene in Ireland has slowed down with the demise of the bigger clubs to the sprouting of smaller clubs.
”I have been involved in the women’s game for over 30 years and in the last 10 years we have had to rethink our strategy in order to increase participation.”
”We have gone from just a handful of players to over 800.”
The schools initiative in 2008 saw a boost in participation with over 30 full size and 80 fold up tables into schools in a five year period.
”Up until 2014, the female game here was in decline, with 1 National Championship, and a few ranking events each year.”
He added that now in all categories of the game there are events for everyone to have a go in, even in six reds and other formats.
”Just to top this, we have introduced female billiards in 2015, with 3 National Championships and 3 ranking events at amateur level and a national billiard league.”
”SBI are hosting a World Disability event in July for the first time inCarlow and we have a few players taking part.”
Over the years there have been many faces of Irish Snooker. From Alex Higgins to Ken Doherty. However, “Fearless” Fergal O’Brien has been a solid stalwart of promoting the grassroots and is currently coaching.
Carroll adds: “His dedication to helping others in the sport is fantastic.”
0’ Brien is similar to Joe Perry, who is doing a lot for the game in the south on Cuestars and other tours.
”We are lucky to have him on board.”
On growing the game further, Carroll believes that there needs to be a proper development team in place.
”Don’t ignore the importance of participation at every level.”
Carroll, outside of snooker is also Chair of the Irish United Nations Veternas Post 29 Carlow.
“We are a volunteer organisation that is involved in many activities around commemorations remembering our fallen soldiers from overseas UN missions since 1958.”
He cites Barry Hawkins, Karen Wilson and Jack Lisowski as players to watch out for.
Many thanks to Daniel Carroll for his time and we wish snooker in Ireland gets better and the numbers grow in participation further.